Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon – May 3, 2015

A couple of runners from my local running group headed down sown to the Redwoods to run the Avenue of the Giants half marathon (one of our group rocked the full marathon!)

Unfortunately with a meeting scheduled at work on Friday that I couldn’t miss, Michael and I weren’t able to get on the road until Saturday. It was a beautiful day and a pretty easy drive (easy for me as the passenger!), but it was still an 8 hour drive, which makes for a long day!

We got there right in time to join the group (who had all left at least a day earlier) for dinner. We were staying at the Miranda Gardens Resort which was super cute. There are a bunch of little cottages. For dinner we just walked across the street to the one restaurant in the area. It was ok, but none of us were particularly wowed by the food.

We hung out for a bit afterwards, but then headed to bed to get rest for the next day.

I didn’t really have any expectations for the race, other than to have fun and run it with my friends. That was achieved, although I have to say afterwards I felt worse than I’ve ever felt after a race in a long time. My body just ached and I was very frustrated with how difficult the run was for me.  We didn’t push ourselves either, so there was no reason why I should have been struggling so much.  I guess it just wasn’t my day….I suppose we all have those.


Unfortunately, this race was a week after I found out that I won the lottery and would be running the Chicago Marathon in October! Not exactly how I wanted to start of my training for that.  IMG_7674 IMG_7672  finisher


DC Rock n Roll Half Marathon

The decision to do this race actually happened while at a Blazers game against the Wizards. Michael and I thought it would be fun to go to a Blazers away game, and what better place than DC, since we could stay with my parents? And….as I was looking at the schedule, it just so happened that the Blazers were playing the Wizards at home the Monday after the DC Rock n Roll race! So of course the first thing I did was email my brother to see if he’d be up for it. And he was! So plans were made! I registered for the race and Michael got the Blazers tickets!

This was my first race as a member of Team SunRype. Around mile 2 or 3, I heard a “hey SunRype girl!” and it was actually my brother who had to poke me and say “you know they’re talking to you, right?” They told me that their friends who were also on the team were running too. Further along the course nearing the end, I saw 3 other girls on the team running. They had stopped under a bridge to take a picture (I think). I stopped for a second to say hi, but my brother was flying and it was obvious he wasn’t going to stop…..so I kept running to keep up with him.

The weather was AWFUL. Rainy, cold, windy. I have the best boyfriend in the world who not only fought through the weather, but also an injured foot to cheer us on at the race, making sure to be there at the start and then further along the course.   We finished the race with a PR for my brother, so that rocked. It was also fun running through my old neighborhood and seeing how much DC has changed in the 3.5 years that I’ve been gone.  But I run in the rain enough in Portland, it would have been nice to have had a dry race this time.


NoPo unofficial half marathon in Bandon, OR

This wasn’t an official race, but a fun run (13.1 miles) organized by two of my friends in my NoPo Run Club running group  (NoPo = North Portland). A bunch of us drove down for the weekend to Bandon.

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The “course” was gorgeous and the weather was nice on the way out, but a little chilly on the way back. But the sun was out the entire time, so no complaints there!

It was also the first “race” that I ran as part of Team SunRype.


Even though it wasn’t an official race, our amazing Toni did print up bibs for us and even surprised us with medals!  Afterwards we got some delicious seafood for lunch and then grilled out for dinner. After dinner we were all so exhausted from the days activities that it ended up being a pretty early night.


Michael and I took the scenic route on the way back and stopped in Florence for lunch (super cute little town!) and Salem to see the cherry blossoms (we were a few days too late…there were still some, but they weren’t at their peak any longer) and then couldn’t drive by the outlet mall without popping in!  All in all, a fun filled weekend getaway!

Chicago Marathon 2015

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing another marathon for a few months now. I’ve done 4 so far (Portland, Marine Corps (2x) and Little Rock). Portland was the only one I really trained seriously for and had a real goal. The others were more or less for fun, with no expectations. Unfortunately, after all my hard work training for Portland, the Tuesday before I came down with strep throat. NOT ideal! I still ran and finished anyways, but am really curious to see what I’m capable of.

Since I am horrible at making actual decisions, I let someone else decide for me….the Chicago Marathon lottery! I put in my name and waited.

April 28th was the longest day EVER!!! I know I wasn’t alone with constantly hitting refresh and checking my status over and over and over….until I got this wonderful sign!


So it’s official….I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October! I’m still having an internal debate about what my goal is going to be. It’s still quite a ways out, so for now I’m going to focus on dropping a few pounds and getting a good base of miles in. Then in June, serious training starts!

Let the fun begin 🙂

Los Cabos Half Marathon

For anyone who lives in the Pacific NW or has spent any time during the winter here, you can imagine that it is a necessity to escape and seek some sun at some point! So for the January long weekend holiday, we decided to escape to Mexico. We found a good deal on airfare to Cabo and decided to go for President’s Day weekend. Hours after clicking purchase (literally)…and just out of curiosity, I googled “half marathons in Mexico.” Boy was I surprised to find that there was a half marathon….in Cabo…..the weekend BEFORE we just purchased our flights for! I did some quick research and found that we could change our flights within 24 hours of booking, and it would actually be cheaper if we went the other weekend. Now I just had to convince my boyfriend why this was a perfect idea! Luckily he is very understanding of my race habit, and agreed to change our trip – which as it turns out worked out rather well, since I ended up having to cut our Mexico vacation a day short to head to Scotland for a work trip….more on that later.


Our plan was to fly into San Jose del Cabo, rent a car, spend a few days in Todos Santos and then head back to Cabo for the race. What a brilliant idea. Todos Santos was an adorable small, quiet town. We walked to a nearby beach and pretty much had the place to ourselves, aside from a few others we passed along the way and the 4-5 whales we watched playing around in the water!  The weather was absolutely gorgeous – sun was shining, but the heat wasn’t unbearable.


The hotel that we stayed at (Guaycura Boutique Hotel) had a wonderful rooftop deck where we sat and watch an amazing sunset, while enjoying some drinks.  The hotel was right in the center of town and everyone was super friendly (even those the system was down when we got there so they couldn’t get us our room key right away! Not a problem….we were on vacation!  We were really surprised at how empty the town felt. For such a cute, artsy town we expected there to be a ton of people (but of course were relieved that there wasn’t!)

After our time in Todos Santos, we headed to San Jose del Cabo, stopping in Cabo San Lucas for lunch on our way. Talk about two cities being as different as possible! Within minutes of being there we both agreed that we made a very smart decision by going to Todos Santos. It was just so much more our style. Cabo San Lucas was just way too built up and crazy. Maybe if we were still in our early twenties on spring break!!


After lunch, we continued on to San Jose del Cabo, where the race was and where we had rented an apartment through AirBnB (our first time!). The city was a happy medium between the quiet, laid back Todos Santos, but still lots of options of Cabo. After getting settled into the apartment, we headed to the packet pick up.     I wasn’t sure what to expect, not really knowing the size of the race. It was pretty organized but relatively small compared to other races. There were a few tables set up from local vendors selling running gear and medal displays. Nothing particularly great. Afterwards we found a spot for dinner, away from the blaring music!

The night before the race I didn’t sleep particularly well. When I woke up, I wasn’t very optimistic about the race.

We got to the start line, which was conveniently just a few blocks from the apartment we were staying at. I was very surprised at the amount of people who were actually wearing the race shirt. Maybe I’m a bit superstitious, but I don’t think you can really wear the shirt until you actually run the race! That and I’m a big believer in not doing anything new on race day. You just never know what sort of chafing the shirt could cause!

I felt pretty good the first two miles. I spotted a girl who was keeping a good pace – just fast enough to stay ahead of me but not too fast that I couldn’t keep up. …until we hit the hill and I passed her! Guess she doesn’t do much hill training!

The course had a few out and backs which were great since I was able to see Michael a few times along the course. He was amazing support! Each time I saw him I got a burst of energy. The last time he jokingly said that he’d better start heading back to the finish line so he could see me cross, and he’d better hurry since I was doing so good. I hadn’t really been paying much attention to my watch throughout the race (shocking for me!) so I was really surprised to look down and see that with only a mile left I could end up finishing under 2 hours! Considering how great I felt and I didn’t really feel like I had been pushing myself, I was super surprised, and also super motivated to get myself to that finish line under 2hours!!!

And I did it!!!! With 54 seconds to spare! (if you’re not a runner you probably don’t think that is much….but trust me it is!)IMG_6939I got my medal, found Michael and walked around the post party set up for a bit before heading back to the apartment to shower, get food, and pack…..I had a flight to Scotland to catch!!!!IMG_7002IMG_6936

German Wine Road Half Marathon

After a great two week work trip in Jerusalem, it was time to head home. My itinerary originally included a required overnight in Frankfurt. Taking advantage of having a friend who lives in a town outside of Frankfurt, I emailed her to see if she was going to be in town and was free. Turns out she was! So I extended my layover to include one more night. Then….just out of curiosity I started looking around to see if there were any races nearby that weekend. And, as luck would have it, there was!!! And a really great one! The Deutsche Weinstrasse Half/Full Marathon (German Wine Road race). How could we not sign up for it?? Unfortunately since it was already so late, the half was already sold out, but there were still entries for the full, and there was a note that said that if you signed up for the full you could switch to the half around the 8.6 km point. So we signed up!

I arrived Saturday afternoon and after dropping my stuff off at my friend’s house, we headed to the expo to pick up our stuff. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we got a little lost but eventually found our way. We picked up our packet which included a bottle of wine (awesome!!! Can’t wait to try it out), a bunch of grapes shaped sponge (still trying to figure out the exact purpose for it….we saw some people who had it with them during the race either dunking it in water and using it to cool themselves off and then others squeezing water out of it to drink, and wine too!) There was also a bottle of some sort of other drink, which I took one sip snd spit it out, it was so disgusting! I don’t even know how to describe it….it was sort of like flat cola, a malt like drink, some lemon mixed in, and just, gross! There were some brochures for other races in Germany and then a few candies. It all came in a cute drawstring bag. They had the option to purchase a tech shirt for the race, which I did. I figured it’d be a great souvenir.


The race was on Sunday, and didn’t start until 10am (thank goodness because daylight savings was in Germany on Saturday night! So we lost an hour of sleep that night). We got there with plenty of time. The atmosphere was great. A lot of music and people everywhere. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and looking forward to a great race.   The weather was perfect as well! Sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot.


The course itself was really pretty, but really hilly. We ran through a bunch of vineyards. I got some great pictures. We actually ended up walking most of the course. My friend is such a trooper! We had only signed up about a month before race day, so there was very little time to train. And not to mention she was still dealing with previous knee and other injuries. It was still a lot of fun. We got to enjoy the course and even stopped and had some wine at the water/aid stations along the way! I really do enjoy not having the pressure of “racing” and just running/walking the course instead. It is a different mindset and experience, but one I think I enjoy more. Granted – I say that now after being plagued with knee issues myself and having slowed down my pace a lot. Maybe that will change if I get my speed back 😉


At the last point of the race, we were passed by one of the marathon runners. He had a funny long-billed hat on backwards and was running in a plastic fake butt!!! Once I saw it I had to run after him to catch up and take a picture! There were a few people in the crowd who saw me sprint after him and didn’t realize what the heck I was doing until they saw his “backside” as well! Then they started laughing as well. I think it’s great that people have a sense of humor.


We crossed the finish line and heard our names announced (they even pronounced mine correctly!). We met up with my friend’s boyfriend and eventually sat down at a picnic table and enjoyed some beers and food. It was a beautiful day just to sit outside and hang out with friends.


The medal itself is pretty neat too. It’s a bunch of grapes and the ribbon is the colors of the German flag. I can’t wait to hang it and the one from Jerusalem on my “Tracey Runs the World” medal hanger that I got for Christmas!   Two great (and appropriate!) additions.


Jerusalem Half Marathon

I may have mentioned it before, but I am lucky enough to have a really awesome job.  I get to travel to interesting places that most people would never think of going (Iraq, Yemen….) and occasionally I’m able to squeeze in some fun on the way home.  This is even more important to me since I moved from DC (where I could easily fly to Europe for a long weekend) to Portland, here it seems like it takes an entire weekend just to get to Europe!!! I’ve been particularly lucky in being able to add on side trips to international race destinations in the past year (Edinburgh and Nice) and most recently (as in today!) Jerusalem. Well, actually, this time, Jerusalem was actually the destination for my work trip. 

The race itself was on a Friday.  And the race went quite well! Or at last it did once I got there. I woke up around 5:15-30ish, and went down to the lobby around 6 where I was expecting to see a bunch of the other runners I had seen at the hotel last night. Instead, it was dead quiet! Kind of weird. I realized I was cutting it a little close (race started at 6:45am), but figured I still had plenty of time.  So I asked the guy at the front desk to call a taxi.  He called, talked for a while, and then hung up and told me that no cabs could come because the roads were closed already for the race. I started to panic! The starting line was quite far from the hotel, and there would be no way I could walk there in time! It would probably be another half marathon just to get there! So I pleaded for him to call again or if there was anyone at the hotel who could get me at least somewhat close to the start. He called, talked for a little while again, and then hung up and said 5 minutes. I was so relieved! (although granted I didn’t really believe him to be honest).   But thankfully in about 5 minutes, a cab pulled up! I got in the front seat and was just so relieved that I didn’t even notice that there were 2 girls in the back seat at first! Turns out they were staying at a hotel nearby and were also going to the race!  I was seriously so happy.  The one girl was from Sweden and the other from Germany.  So we finally got as close to the start as we could and the cab dropped us off. It was nice to have someone to walk to the race with (and to take a picture of me at the start!)  They were nice girls who were also there for the race. Looking back I’m kicking myself for not exchanging info with them! Obviously they’re awesome girls who travel for races, so we should be friends 🙂



 Anyways, I felt pretty good throughout the entire race. There were some serious hills though! Especially at the end. Talk about cruel. I’m just thankful I was only running the half and not the full.  We went through some neat neighborhoods and actually ran through part of the Old City. That was pretty neat.



I ended up finishing the race much faster than I would have expected! I think I came in just around 2:10. Not too bad for not having really trained for it that much.  Afterwards, I walked around a bit seeing if I could find the girls from the taxi (hoping we could share a taxi on the way back!)  but no luck. I sat and stretched and enjoyed the sun for a bit, and then started trying to figure out how I was going to get home!!! I ended up walking to a hotel and found a cab, who charged me a crazy amount (well about $20, but it seemed crazy). And, I’m pretty sure he was crazy.  He was driving like a maniac, asking all sorts of questions, was mumbling to himself “why, why, why” anytime he something. And then we couldn’t get to my hotel because the roads were closed. So at one point he stopped, pointed and said, “there your hotel is up there. just walk up and it’ll be on the left”.  It didn’t look anywhere close to where I thought the hotel was, so I said fine, but I’m only going to pay you 50 (he wanted 80 ILS). Apparently that was unacceptable, so he ended up driving around again for about 10 minutes and then got to a point again where it was close, but not to the hotel. I told him I wasn’t going to pay the full amount because he didn’t take me to the hotel where we agreed on! He started throwing a fit. I ended up paying 75 just to get out.  I was sort of mad, and was trying to explain to him that I had just run for over 2 hours, the last thing I wanted to do was walk up a hill!!! He didn’t seem to care. Oh well, can’t win them all!



Overall it was a great experience and I’m so glad I was able to run it!  It’s definitely not nearly as much fun doing a race alone as it is with friends, but sadly I wasn’t able to convince anyone to come with me for this one.  Maybe next time! Well, actually definitely next time! Next race is next weekend.  I have a mandatory layover in Frankfurt on my way home (it takes just about a weekend to get home from Europe too!).  I emailed my friend who lives near Frankfurt to see if she’d be in town (she will be!) so figured I’d extend my layover one day and see her. And then….I just happened to be looking at races, and saw that there was one that weekend, not far from Frankfurt!!! Talk about perfect! Unfortunately the half was already sold out, but we were able to sign up for the full and can switch to the half during the race. And if that wasn’t perfect enough, the race is in wine country in Germany! I’m so excited. Last time I visited my friend, we went to a beer festival, so it seems only appropriate to do something wine themed, and even better something win running too! We ran the Rock n Roll Las Vegas half in November to celebrate her birthday (again, another logistical coincidence that worked out great!) See the birthday girl in the middle (obviously!) and one of the best photobombs ever (guy in the American flag shorts to the right)



More details and pictures of that race to come next week!